BigCo leaders are under tremendous pressure to keep their organizations relevant and growing in the face of increasing uncertainty. And as battle-tested leaders courageously trailblaze the way forward, it is more critical than ever for them to learn from and connect with other battle-tested leaders. We’ve created Courageous Minds Only communities in cities like Cincinnati, NYC, Chicago, and more as one way to enable that, but also highly recommend attending conferences, especially if you have a desire to dig into specific topics, tools, mindsets, and methodologies. We’ve shared a list (in no particular order) below based on our own experiences and external recommendations, but please share your thoughts with us. What conferences have you received the most value from?
- Front End of Innovation Conference (FEI)
- Held in Boston every year, FEI is one of a kind when it comes to connecting with BigCo leaders who are trailblazing the way forward. You’ll meet a mix of leaders—innovation lab leaders, design leaders, those innovating across the core business, internal innovation consultants, and more— all tackling similar challenges. We’ve been participating in this conference for the past four years; great way to stay involved and at the forefront of the ecosystem.
- Retail Innovation Conference
- Get a hands-on look at the latest innovations in the retail space, exclusive store tours, and more at this retail-focused event. Check out this year’s updates and learnings.
- The Quirks Event
- In 2019, this market research conference traveled to London, Brooklyn, and Chicago to bring together research and insights leaders at an affordable cost. These events are different in the sense that there are no big keynote speakers; you’re going to learn solely from battle tested leaders and companies who have submitted applications to share. From our experience, these events tend to be very regionally attended, so especially if you’re close to Chicago or NYC, this is a good chance to sustain and grow your local network.
- The Market Research Event (TMRE)
- We’ve been a long-time attendee of TMRE; this conference consistently attracts insights, marketing, and innovation leaders alike, especially those who are tasked with finding new, innovative ways to tackle challenges when it comes to keeping the core relevant expanding into adjacencies. This conference is consistently a good mix of takeaway-packed battle tested stories and inspiring keynotes.
- Lean Startup
- We’ve been going to Lean Startup Conference for the past three years. The conference has evolved and changed, but consistently attracts some of the top battle-tested BigCo and industry thought leaders. Check out our takeaways from the 2018 conference.
- Mind the Product
- While specific to product managers, Mind the Product travels all over the world and is a great event for learning actionable techniques, tools, and methods. This conference came highly recommended from many who attended Lean Startup. Check out these top learnings from Mind The Product San Francisco 2018.
- Innovation Leader’s Impact
- Innovation Leader is a media company, releasing some of the top reports when it comes to data on the corporate innovation space. They host “Deep-Dives” across different cities, touring local Innovation Labs and digging into specific topics, and last year they launched their conference.
- This conference spans the globe, inviting speakers that explore topics like succeeding with innovation labs, incubators and accelerators, structuring, scaling and sustaining intrapreneurship programs, portfolio management, funding and metrics, and more. This is on the smaller side when it comes to conferences, which enables you to more easily connect with people.
- Innovation Summit
- With the objective of leaving attendees with a playbook on the technologies to stay at the forefront of their industry, Innovation Summit brings together leaders and learnings to ensure long-term, actionable strategies are created.
- Fast Company Innovation Festival
- Positioned as a live-storytelling event, these 4 days cover all things innovation, from technology, to leadership, to creativity, and healthcare. This is a larger conference, so tougher to network and find your tribe, but is one of the best of the best when it comes to getting inspired and see some of the latest when it comes to tech and creativity.
- Future of FinTech
- CB Insights puts this conference together to ensure attendees leave better informed about emerging companies, business, models, and technologies revolutionizing the financial services industry.
Big conferences aren’t the only way to learn from others and explore more in this space. As we’ve gotten involved in the Chicago ecosystem and stayed involved in Cincinnati, we’ve found our local tribes at places like 1871 and Union Hall.
Share your thoughts with us. What other conferences should be on this list?